AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame | Where Heroes Live On
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Byron Hines


Dozens of national championships as a tuner Dominated drag racing building bikes for Terry Vance Co-founded Vance & Hines

Byron Hines has always tried to be the best at what he does. Quite often, he is.
Hines’ success tuning engines and managing race teams has spanned five decades, starting in the 1970s with his partnership with Hall of Famer Terry Vance on the drag racing circuit. More recently, his Harley-Davidsons have excelled in professional road racing.
“One mark of exceptional talent is the ability to forge success regardless of your circumstances,” says Ken Ford, a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame executive committee and assistant treasurer of the AMA board of directors. “As a tuner, Byron Hines has won in the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s. He has won in drag racing and road racing. He has won on brands as different from each other as Yamaha, Ducati and Harley-Davidson. Few understand the ingredients to long-term success in motorcycle racing as well as he, and it’s my pleasure to welcome Byron Hines to the 2014 class of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.”
For Hines, induction isn’t an opportunity to look back on a completed career. He says he’s far from done racing.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a huge honor, but it feels a little odd because I’m not done yet,” Hines says. “Being in a competitive arena, it seems like you’re never done. You’re going to keep doing what your doing and striving to be the best at what you do.”
Hines’ attraction to motorcycles came at an early age.
“I just always liked the physical size of the motorcycle,” he says. “Cars were too hard to work on and a lot of times you had to have someone with you to move stuff.”
Even then, the tuning spirit was alive in Hines, who saw more performance potential in motorcycles than cars.
“I had this perception of motorcycles as being capable of a higher state of tune, and it was easier to make them go fast,” he says. “To me, motorcycles just represented a more technologically advanced and capable package.”
With drag racer Vance, Hines earned national drag-racing championships into the 1980s, leveraging on-track achievements into the successful aftermarket company Vance & Hines.
The company branched into road racing in the 1980s, becoming one of the top AMA Pro Superbike teams, winning individual races as well as class titles, including the 1990 AMA SuperSport Championship with rider David Sadowski.
In the late 1990s, they switched to Ducati and experienced further success with Anthony Gobert and Ben Bostrom at the controls. For the 2014 season, Hines team competed in, and sponsored, the AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Racing Series, part of the AMA Pro Road Racing program.
Hines says that one element of his success has been an appreciation for the fundamentals of motorcycle tuning.
“There are principles of engine performance and operation that will always be there—basic cam timing, compression ratios, cylinder head porting, the basic concept of how engines are put together,” Hines says. “There’s a set of rules, and you can’t break those rules. As soon as you go outside those boundaries, your performance is going to suffer.”
Vance & Hines, based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., not only remains competitive in professional racing, but it develops and sells aftermarket products for a wide range of motorcycles today.
“What have been most important to me are the people I’ve run into, the acquaintances I’ve made and the relationships I’ve maintained,” Hines says. “I’m thankful to work some place where everything just clicks, meeting the right people and having enough staying power to work out the kinks and have an opportunity to achieve what I want to achieve.”